5. Unmanned Machinery Spaces (UMS) System Checks
Modern ships are capable of being operated with unmanned machinery spaces.
Commonly, all controlled are located outside the engine room wherein all operational
requirements can be done. The advantage of this type of ship is that the vessel
machineries are operated remotely, with ease of human controls, monitors and
alarms are located strategically in the accommodation area and less number of crew
are required comparing with the older ships design. Safety aspects are well
considered and were compensated with various sensors, recorders and alarms that
are installed in various locations in the machinery spaces as well as in the crew
5.1 Purpose of UMS Checks
UMS check is an important procedure to be conducted prior arranging an UMS
operation. The UMS checks shall be conducted and recorded in the UMS Checklists,
bearing in mind all the principles has to be observed in keeping an engineering
watch and complying with safety management system objectives; Safety of Life at
Sea, Safe Operation of the Machineries and Environmental Protection and Security.
This is to ensure and to maintain that safe operation of the machineries and safety of the ship at all times. Designated duty personnel (Engineer and rating) should
conduct thorough checking of machineries and its spaces before asking permission
to the Chief Engineer for the UMS operation.
Common procedures in conducting UMS checks is that all engineer’s including the
rating’s shall conduct machinery inspections in ascertaining its condition, rectifying possible trouble to arise during the UMS operation and before the duty engineer can ask permission to the Chief Engineer. The path of checking or inspection can be conducted from the uppermost part of the machinery spaces down to the lowermost floors or vice versa.
5.2 UMS Checklists
UMS Checklist is a list of various machineries in the engine room where each of
machineries and its condition including but not limited to its parameters such as
temperature, pressure, and other condition is recorded. The checklist is prepared by
the designated duty engineer on daily basis prior seeking approval to the Chief
Engineer for UMS operation. The checklists are kept on file and serve as official
records of machinery spaces operation.
The following check items shall be at least included in the UMS Check List.
a. There is no abnormality with each process value, such as temperature, pressure,
revolution, flow rate, level, etc.
b. There is no abnormality, such as vibration, noise, leakage and overheating, with the operating conditions of various machinery and equipment.
c. There is no abnormality with monitoring system, alarm system, remote control
system, automatic control system and electric system.
d. Fire Protection/Fire-Fighting Appliance and other Equipment and device that are
not in continuous use are ready for use immediately.
e. Back-up systems, such as stand-by machinery, etc. are established.
f. The machinery space is in order, clean, and has no presence of danger.
The UMS checklist is only valid within the 24 hours period it has been conducted.
5.3 Conduct of UMS Operation
The UMS watch is commencing depending on the Chief Engineer’s judgment that it
is technically practicable in accordance with the “UMS Check List” and that the
machinery space has clear of danger and the safe operation is established.
The UMS duty engineer shall observe the following and perform UMS duty in
accordance with SMS procedure.
a. The UMS duty engineer shall carry out checks to the engine room and ensure
that there is no problem with the operation of various machinery and equipment.
After a close check using the UMS Check List, he must report to the Chief
Engineer and submit the accomplished checklist after signing it. UMS check is
usually carried in the morning as general rule.
b. When it is considered that the state of operation of the various machinery and
equipment is not as per planned, the duty engineer shall deal with it properly and
report to the Chief Engineer. UMS operation shall not be started until the Chief
Engineer has permitted it.
c. The UMS duty engineer shall carry out inspection tours in accordance with the
Security procedure and obey the special instruction in relation to an inspection
tour received from the Chief Engineer.
d. When UMS operation is started after the end of work of the Engine Department,
the UMS duty engineer shall change over the "UMS Duty Switch" to the UMS
side after checking that there is no abnormal alarm, and then the fact shall be
communicated to the bridge.
e. When a UMS extension alarm sounds, he shall hurry to the engine control room,
take the proper measures and report to the Chief Engineer. Note that when it is
impossible for the Engineer on UMS duty himself to take measures or make a
judgment; he shall promptly report the fact to the Chief Engineer and request
f. When UMS operation is restarted after a UMS extension alarm is dealt with, the
fact shall be communicated to the bridge.
g. The Engineer on UMS duty shall, as a general rule, stay within the audible range of the UMS extension alarm. When he does leave the audible range, he shall
always take necessary measures.
5.4 UMS Alarm System
When in an UMS operation, suitable alarm system has to be established to warn the
duty engineer and other personnel onboard of any occurrences of trouble,
malfunction or danger in the engine room.
5.4.1 Extension Alarm
Modern ships now are integrated with an extension alarm system, wherein the
sounding and indication of the alarm is not only provided in the engine room but as
well as in some part of the accommodation spaces, ie., the bridge, engineer’s cabin,
mess room, etc.
The extension alarm system can be set by a selector switch in engine room control
console and has to be activated when a UMS operation is to be conducted. In any
event of malfunction or trouble of a machinery, an alarm signal and lamp indication
will be transmitted not only in the engine room but also to an individual monitoring
panel in the mess room, the duty engineer cabin, the Chief Engineer cabin, the
bridge and other spaces where most of the crew are occupying during free hours.
Specifically, the purpose of the extension alarm is to warn the UMS duty personnel
of occurrence of any malfunction or trouble in the engine room. In order to establish a more stringent safety control in the machinery spaces, the alarm is also provided in the Chief Engineer’s cabin and the Bridge. In cases that the UMS duty personnel is not acknowledging the alarm, the Chief Engineer and the officer in the bridge can do necessary action to rectify the failure in the machinery spaces.
5.4.2 Engineer’s Call Alarm
Another safety and precautionary signal in the engine room is the “Engineer’s Call”
This alarm signal is differentiated from a normal machinery alarm or an extension
alarm in the engine room by employing a high pitch sound in an individual buzzer
panel installed in various locations in the accommodation spaces as well as in the
engine control room. This function can be activated manually or automatically by
setting a selector switch in the engine room control console. The selector switch is
normally set to automatic function where an “Engineer’s Call” alarm will be activated in cases that a normal machinery alarm is not acknowledge within a preset period of time. Commonly, the “Engineer’s Call” alarm signal will be automatically given after few minutes (timer setting can be adjusted) when a machinery alarm is not acknowledged by watch personnel.
5.4.3 Dead Man Alarm
Another safety function that is commonly installed in an UMS ship is the “Dead Man”
alarm. It is a form of communication that is provided in the engine room when people
are working alone to notify the bridge in the event of helps being required.
The alarm function can be activated by pressing an on/off button in the “Dead Man” alarm panel at the entrance of the engine room before conducting a UMS rounds. When a preset period of time, commonly 30 minutes has elapsed and the watch personnel has not reset the alarm function button, an alarm signal will be given in the bridge. This is to warn the bridge personnel that a UMS round has been conducted in the engine room and the UMS watch personnel may need help during that situation. In this recourse, the bridge watches officer can inform the Chief Engineer and other personnel that an engine room personnel requiring help in the engine room and necessary action can be taken
5.5 Fire Patrol Watch Arrangement
Suitable fire patrol watch should be arranged during the UMS operation, especially
during the night period. The purpose of the fire patrol watch is to ensure that there is no occurrence of fire or any danger in the engine room.
In conducting Fire Patrol Watch the following principle should be taken into
i. Fire patrol watcher must follow the plan drawn for keeping a fire watch and
should abide to the pattern of inspection describe thereto.
ii. If suitable dead man alarm arrangement is provided into the engine room, fire
patroller must never forget to activate such alarm system for his own protection.
iii. If the engine room is not equipped with the dead man alarm system, he must
report to the duty officer at the bridge before and after he has conducted a fire
patrol watch in the engine room.
iv. Checklist must be followed and filled up appropriately, to ensure that there is no occurrence or sign of any danger prevails in the engine room.
5.6 Do’s and Don’ts
When a UMS operation in the engine room shall be conducted, make sure that all
possibilities of trouble and malfunction that will cause hazards are eradicated. The
following are some of the dos and don’ts to be applied to maintain the safety aspects in the engine room and the safety management system shall be consulted at all times.
a. Kept the engine room spotless. Oil and water leakages should be rectified. All
areas to be kept cleaned at all times.
b. No rags and cloths are lying around in the machinery spaces.
c. All tools and maintenance equipments are stowed in proper location.
d. All bilges must be emptied and clean.
e. All machinery controls are properly labeled and clean.
f. All safety equipments are clearly marks and visible.
g. All safety signage are clearly visible.
h. All sensors and alarm devices are periodically check and function tested.
i. All valves and pipelines are clearly marked.
j. All bare electrical wires are to be isolated and covered with insulators.